Between the internet and TV, families are bombarded with what a modern vacation is supposed to look like.
Parents are lured by brightly-colored resorts complete with a waterslide and an assembly line of travelers gawking at the latest attraction designed to shock the senses.
However, sometimes your little thrill-seekers need a vacation where they are challenged and their curiosity piqued – and we know just the places!
Children are constantly in front of computer screens and electronic devices, especially now with the explosion of virtual schooling.
When does the mind get a break?
When do children look beyond their screens and experience the real world right in front of them?
So consider taking a family vacation this year that will break down those “virtual walls within families in everyday life,” as Michael Lanza from The Big Outside puts it.
1. Hike the Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps
Seeing Switzerland, Italy, and France in one glorious trip sounds like an impossible dream, but it’s not!
The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the most popular hikes in the world – and for good reason.
It takes you on a 105-mile journey around the “Monarch of the Alps” – the monumental 15,771-foot Mont Blanc.
You will see the rocky peaks of France, icy glaciers of Switzerland, and the rolling hills of Italy. But more importantly, you’ll see your children’s faces light up when they reach this summit of epic proportions.
2. Yosemite’s Waterfalls in the Sierra Nevada
Imagine approaching a 1,400-foot waterfall and being filled with a sense of awe you can’t get from any rollercoaster.
Located in California’s Sierra Nevada, Yosemite’s Waterfall is a great hike through Yosemite Valley.
The water crashing at the bottom of the cliff and the animals that flock to this rich environment will surely give your children something to remember for the rest of their lives.
3. Witness a Volcano at Mount St. Helens
Kids typically only read about volcanos in their science books or see them in their favorite dinosaur films, but watching their eyes grow as big as the Cascade Volcanic Arc can’t be put into words.
Take the traditional 10-mile hike of Monitor Ridge up to 4,500 feet and emerge from the Washington rainforest to a field of black volcanic rock set against the backdrop of Cascade Range.
4. Descend into the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon offers a plethora of hiking trails, but not all are family-friendly – unless your child has been training in the backyard every day.
But the four-day, 29-mile hike from Grandview Point to the South Kaibab Trail is totally doable for the whole family with a little preparation and planning.
Part of the Tonto Trail, this hike offers a beautiful view with much less traffic than the Grand Canyon’s access points.
5. Backpack through Olympic Coast in Washington
What child doesn’t love being near water?
Backpacking along the rugged coastline of Washington’s Olympic National Park will give your family the classic summer vacation plus the chance to explore boundless ocean life in a natural environment – without hundreds of umbrellas and the scent of sunscreen drifting through the air.
Be sure to stop for a picnic lunch under a huge western cedar tree and enjoy the sounds of crashing waves below.
Don’t be intimidated by the words “hike” or “backpacking.” Anyone is capable of enjoying both their family and God’s wonderful earth at the same time.
Start on a small walk and work up to sleeping under the stars in the Alps.
The late-night laughs and ghost stories while you roast marshmallows around the campfire will be just what everyone needed – whether you knew it or not.